Today a series of mini-posts (just like the mini donuts, small, sweet, hot and delicious).
The Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
If nothing else, the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is colourful. We hired a driver to take us on a sightseeing adventure from Hua Hin for the day and our first spot was here. After an hour and a half drive, he dropped us off and said he would wait for our return in about an hour and a half. The woman at the entry told us it was 2400 baht for a boat, that we would see the market, the temple, how to do something with coconuts and get off to walk the land-based market, so we paid and in we jumped, not realizing that we now had our own long boat and that we could have lessened the cost if we had teamed up with another couple. Ah well, off we go. Our first stop is at a canal side shop with the usual trinkets. Thankfully Terry was on that side of the boat, so when we declined, the look that could kill she got from the vendor was directed at her and not me. From there it was off to the market’s “Main Street”.
This was no different from Bangkok’s traffic – solid boats. It was a marvel watching the pilots navigate the chaotic cacophony to get boats near to the vendors. The buying of these masks was something.
We had passed the shop and were in the middle of the canal, so the driver/pilot had to stop, back up and move over to the “shore” while about four other boats manipulated around him. It really was something to watch. Be that as it may, I was really ripped off, I think. These were some of the first things we saw and liked. If I compare them to other things we saw here and elsewhere, we paid 5 times what we could have got them for somewhere else. Having said that, I don’t think we saw them anywhere but here so maybe it wasn’t such a bad deal. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!)
Besides all the trinkets, there were the usual tourist traps. That’s me under there.
After the Market of Crap, we went to the dirtiest, grungiest temple we saw in Thailand and then a market on the land where there were literally layers of dust on the items, and then back to the start. We never did see the coconuts.
From there it was back into the car and another one and a half hour drive to
The Bridge Over The River Kwai (?)
(can you hear Colonel Bogie’s March?)
After our big drive we arrive in Kanchanaburi, the actual site of the bridge and it is just over 100 degrees (who cares in celsius). We get out and wander off down the bridge, feeling quite something, not quite sure what. However, by now I have my phone out and looking at the history of the bridge. Some things you may or may not know.
- When David Lean made the film, it was made in Sri Lanka, not Thailand.
- This is the actual site of the bridge.
- There were two bridges built, with the first being destroyed by Allied bombing in 1943. This was the second one.
- When the film was released, the Thais faced a problem. Thousands of tourists came to see the bridge over the River Kwai, but no such bridge existed. However, there did exist a bridge over the Mae Klong. So, to resolve the problem, they renamed the river. The Mae Klong is now called the Kwae Yai (‘Big Kwae’) for several miles north of the confluence with the Kwae Noi (‘Little Kwae’), including the bit under the bridge. (from Wikipedia)
- Still, it was a very horrendous situation for the thousands of prisoners who were sacrificed in the building of the railway and the bridge.
However, we were pretty much done after an hour of seeing the bridge and the second rate museum at the site. Apparently there is a much better museum in town. We get back into the car for our three hour ride home. On the way we saw many many trucks loaded with sugar cane on their way to the refineries. They pack them high.
Do some math with me: 1.5 hours to market + 1.5 hours to the Bridge + 3 hours back to Hua Hin = 6 hours driving. 1.5 hours at the Market of Crap + 1 hour at the Bridge. So 6 hours in a car for 2.5 hours of sight seeing. Good use of time?
7–11 Training Ground
While we were in Chiang Mai, and in fact all of the time we were in Thailand, we saw hundreds – and that is not an exaggeration, of 7-11s. Clearly this is the training ground for management personnel throughout the corporation. There were so many, I took photos of some of the signs and made a collage of over thirty-five different 7-11 signs we saw in Chiang Mai – and we were only on about ten different streets while we were there. My favourite was taken on the street just outside our hotel. I am standing at the door of one and looking across the street and down about 40 feet to the sign for another. We would commonly see two of them in one block and once even three of them. It is also a very popular for men’s singlets (Terry refers to them as wife beaters and wouldn’t let me buy one) and children’s t-shirts. Sadly, when my hard drive crashed, I lost not only the photos but also the collage. Anyway Mal, this one is for you, buddy.
Some favourite photos of Thailand of mine.